I was curious about the views of the many very experienced network people here on the use of "IP" for "IP address".

Obviously it follows the very common English mechanism where adjective-noun is shortened to adjective when frequently used: "laptop computer" to "laptop", "Hoover vacuum cleaner" to "Hoover" (much to the chagrin of intellectual property lawyers), and has a certain familiarity ("best friend" to "bestie", "hometown boy" to "homeboy" to "Homie"). Wikipedia editors commonly use "IP" for "IP address user" (ie identified by IP address rather than username).

But of course IP is a thing of itself (subject of RFC 791), and we speak of "internet protocol numbers", ie 17 being UDP.

How many experienced engineers use "IP" to mean address? I confess it still jars a little and makes me ask every time if someone means address, and was wondering if I should stop sticking my heels in and accept it as what they meant? (per Cratylus, or perhaps Humpty Dumpty.)

  • I think this is not something we can easily answer here. This will likely vary per country / region / individual. Personally when writing I will always use the complete term 'IP address', but orally I may ask a colleague the IP of a device for example. – JFL Dec 19 '17 at 13:02
  • I'm with JFL on this, it'll vary from person to person, but the correct answer is IP = Internet Protocol. – user36472 Dec 19 '17 at 13:05
  • This question has been flagged for closure. It seems to be soliciting primarily opinion-based answers, and I don't see how it is possible to select a single answer as the "correct" answer, so I will also vote to close the question. This is something that could generate a good discussion on Network Engineering Chat. – Ron Maupin Dec 19 '17 at 13:41
  • I agree with you: it's interesting, but not suitable for here. – jonathanjo Dec 19 '17 at 13:49

The term "IP" means Internet Protocol. There are two current IPs: IP version 4 and IP version 6. Traditionally, the generic term IP means IPv4, but the original IETF proposal by Lee Howard to sunset IPv4 proposes that the generic term "IP" be changed to mean "IPv6":

The term "IP," without address family specified, is assumed to mean "IPv6."

I'm not sure why some people use the generic term to mean "IP address." Why would it mean "IP address" any more than it means "IP RFC," "IP version," "IP header," "IP TTL," etc.?

  • I believe they do it by noun elision, as they almost always would say "address" after IP -- perhaps they know no other expression which begins with "IP". Thinks for answer about what you do. Do you follow Howard? My experience is that opinions vary hugely about v4 v v6. – jonathanjo Dec 19 '17 at 13:26
  • The IETF has a current working group to sunset IPv4, so it bears watching – Ron Maupin Dec 19 '17 at 13:28

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